Enduring Powers of Attorney
At Porter Morris, we have the knowledge, expertise and experience to advise clients sensitively and comprehensively on the creation, registration and post-registration issues concerning Enduring Powers of Attorney.
Enduring Powers of Attorney are concerned with the care of a person and the management of their assets during their lifetime, should they become mentally incapable of managing their own affairs.
In completing an Enduring Power of Attorney, a person appoints attorneys to look after his or her affairs should such an eventuality arise. The person making the Enduring Power of Attorney (“the donor”) can decide what powers the attorneys will have. The attorneys may be given powers to deal with personal care decisions only or to deal with all aspects of the donor’s affairs should the need arise. The Enduring Power of Attorney has no legal effect and cannot be acted upon by the attorneys unless and until the donor becomes incapable of looking after themselves or their affairs. The donor's incapacity must be certified by a medical practitioner and the Enduring Power of Attorney registered in the High Court.
Making an Enduring Power of Attorney can be just as important and reassuring to a person as making a valid Will. By making a valid Will, a person can control what is to happen to their assets, and who should inherit their assets on their death. By making an Enduring Power of Attorney, the donor is able to say, in a legally binding document, who is to look after their affairs and assets should they become mentally incapable of doing so themselves during their lifetime.
Wardship/Wards of Court
Where a person who has not executed an Enduring Power of Attorney is or is becoming mentally incapable of looking after his or her affairs, an application can be made to the President of the High Court to have the person in question made a Ward of Court. If the court is satisfied that the person is incapable of managing his or her affairs, the President of the High Court will make an Order taking that person into wardship and will appoint a person, called “a committee”, with whom the Wards of Court Office will liaise regarding decisions to be made about the Ward.
The application to have someone made a Ward of Court is usually though not always made by a member of the person’s family.
Unlike an Enduring Power of Attorney, where the donor has decided who is to look after their affairs by way of a private, legally binding document, an application and Order making someone a Ward of Court is a public matter, administered by the High Court.
There are other circumstances in which an application might be made to have someone made a Ward of Court. One such situation is where a minor (a person under 18 years of age) has been awarded substantial damages by a Court and has ongoing care needs.
At Porter Morris, we are keenly aware of how sensitive and difficult it can be for people involved in Wards of Court applications and wardship. We have the expertise and many years’ experience to advise on all aspects of wardship and Wards of Court applications and management of a ward’s affairs once a Wardship Order has been made.